I fish because I like to. I don’t fish to be in any inner circle fly groups, and I don’t do it because I catch a lot of fish. Because, if you know me, that certainly isn’t the case. I’ve been fishing for musky for about 3 years with no eats, and a total of 1 follow. That one follow has been enough to keep me at it and making hundreds of casts thinking “this is the one” every time the fly is stripped back.
I met a guy that frequented the same internet forums as I, and he said he’d been having a stellar year with toothy fish. After a few loose plans were made we ended up with half a day in his boat on a little lake in NY known for musky. He brought me some Southern Tier beers, listened to Pantera on the boat, and told me that he had helped a lot of people get their first musky on the fly last season. That streak came to a screeching halt when I stepped into the boat. Not due to a lack of trying.
In November we met up again for a weekend. Day one involved 4 guys traveling 3 hours north to catch lakers. They were everywhere. Flying through the water like green missiles but they wouldn’t eat a swung fly. The day ended with one laker that fell to a Clouser and a fisherman that fell on the fish. It was a great day, but the black cloud still hung low. I ended up breaking a rod and chipped 3 teeth.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I set plans to go to a lake that was 2 hours north of me to get away from the PA trout opener weekend crowd. I pulled into the launch and unstrapped the boat, rigged up 2 rods, and backed the trailer to the water. Right before the tires hit the water I put the pickup in park to unhook the winch strap and put in the plug. Wait, where did the plug go? It was sitting in the back cavity when I left. Crap! Musta bounced out on the way. Oh well, there’s a marina just up the road. Guess what, though, at 7 am on a Sunday in a small town – nowhere is open to buy a plug, I made it home in time to have breakfast with the family.
Later that afternoon I was still sulking from the morning escapade and my wife said “go fishing you are driving me nuts”. I made a call to one of my buddies and before I was done asking if he wanted to go, he was on his way to my place. The river was down for the trout opener so we went to a little place we know for wipers. I instructed him to stay on the near bank and work a productive hole while I would wade across and hit one on the other side. After about 15 minutes the river started to rise, and fast. My only option was beat feet to the far bank and risk the walk back on private property. In the end we made it out unscathed but totally frustrated.
The black cloud shows up more often than I’d like, but I still do go out and catch fish, have fun, and more importantly, spend time with some of the best guys I know.
By Chad Bauer